Senate panel OKs Idaho redistricting reform bill


April 10, 2009
Associated Press

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Senate State Affairs Committee Republicans passed a plan to revamp how Idaho redraws its 35 legislative districts following each U.S. Census, over objections from Democrats.

Senate President Pro Tem Bob Geddes said Friday his bill's requirement newly drawn districts be connected by roads will preserve "communities of interest" he contends were neglected during the 2001 effort.

Geddes said southeastern Idaho districts drawn about a decade ago are unwieldy, forcing lawmakers like him to drive outside Idaho just to reach some constituents.

"Hopefully," he said, "this will tie us together a little more than we were last time."

But Democratic Minority Leader Kate Kelly fears his bill will "micromanage" Idaho's six-person redistricting panel when it sets new districts come 2011.

After the 7-2 vote, the full Senate now weighs in.

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